Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin Jr. was our book of the day today. In this beautifully illustrated book, Mary tells a child Jesus (maybe age 6?) the story of His birth. I have sort of mixed feelings about this book. It is beautifully written and illustrated so I enjoy it from a literary standpoint. I appreciate that by having Mary tell the story of His birth to Jesus it gives a fresh perspective on the Christmas story. However, in doing it this way the author emphasizes the humanity of Christ as opposed to the divinity. His Jesus does not know about His own divine birth or about His ultimate task here on earth.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. If the Son is the same as the Father, wouldn’t He know about His own birth and about His death, even as a child? That’s what I’ve always thought. And yet, the Bible is silent on almost all of Jesus’ life as a child. I do also believe that He was fully human which means He was a fully human baby and two-year old and six-year old. I can’t understand how that could be and also have him be God, but I do believe He was both. It’s part of the mystery of faith.
John and I talked about these issues a bit this morning. We talked about the difference between the stories of Jesus in the Bible which we know are true and the stories in this book which are what someone imagined could have been true. We talked about not understanding how Jesus could have been fully human and fully God. We talked about whether or not we thought He knew who He was always or somehow there was a part that knew and a part that didn’t. It was a good conversation. If you’re ok with having that kind of conversation and leaving things with a bit of unexplained mystery, I recommend this book. If not, you might not want to read it with your kids.